Facebook said a new law in Canada that would force the social media giant to pay publishers for news.
Meta Platforms Inc. announced it will cut off news access to Facebook and Instagram for all users in Canada after the country’s parliament approved legislation designed to force the internet giants to pay publishers.
The legislation, known as the Online News Act, was approved by the Senate on Thursday and is expected to be formally adopted soon.
“Today, we are confirming that news availability on Facebook and Instagram will end for all users in Canada before the Online News Act comes into force,” Meta said in a statement later.
The law outlines rules to force platforms like Facebook and Alphabet’s Google to enter into commercial deals and force news publishers to pay for their content, a move similar to a landmark law passed in Australia in 2021.
US tech companies, however, have said the proposals are unsustainable for their businesses. Google says Canadian laws are stricter than those in Australia and Europe and has proposed amendments to address concerns.
Canada’s federal government has so far pushed back against suggestions to make the change. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Meta and Google were using “bullying tactics” while campaigning against the law.
Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, who introduced the bill last year, said on Thursday that the government “will be involved in the regulatory and implementation process” after the law comes into effect.
“If the government can’t stand up for Canadians against the tech giants, who will?” Rodriguez said this in a statement.
A Google spokesman, Shay Purdy, said the search engine giant had “proposed thoughtful and practical solutions”, but the bill remained “unworkable”.
“We continue to urgently work with the government on a way forward,” Purdy said.
The heritage ministry held meetings with Facebook and Google this week, and is looking forward to further discussions, a government spokesperson said.
Google confirmed that senior company executives were scheduled to meet with Rodriguez later Thursday.
The legislation was proposed after complaints from Canada’s media industry, which wants tighter regulation of tech companies to prevent them from elbowing the news business out of the online advertising market.
Daniel Coffey, president of the News Media Alliance global industry group, said in response to the bill’s approval, “The Canadian Parliament should be commended for standing up to Big Tech in compensating news publishers for the use of their articles.” The Senate.
“We are encouraged by the growing recognition of the need for legal action to ensure fair compensation, both in Canada and abroad, and hope the United States will follow suit,” Coffey said.